President Obama impersonator pleases, then upsets GOP
By RICHARD ROEPER firstname.lastname@example.org June 20, 2011 5:52PM
President Barack Obama impersonator Reggie Brown performs at the Republican Leadership Conference in New Orleans, Saturday, June 18, 2011. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)
Updated: September 24, 2011 12:23AM
When I met Reggie Brown at an event in Chicago a few years ago, I had the reaction nearly everyone has:
Wow. He looks a LOT like a younger Barack Obama. I remembering telling Reggie he could play Obama in a movie.
Cut to last Saturday, and the now-famous episode in which Brown appeared in character as Obama at the Republican Leadership Conference of 2011 and delivered jokes like this one:
“Black Leadership Month ... Michelle, she celebrates the full month and you know, I celebrate half.”
Brown did about 15 minutes as Obama and drew some big laughs before he started making jokes about Republicans, which drew boos. That’s when he was pulled off the stage by RLC organizers, “who said the performance had gone too far and was getting inappropriate,” reports CNN.
Ah, got it. It’s OK for the Obama impersonator to show a photo from “Sanford and Son” to illustrate how the presidency ages people (and oh did the crowd love that joke) — but when you crack on Tim Pawlenty or Michele Bachmann, get off the stage!
I watched the whole routine on YouTube. The crowd is just giddy — standing and cheering, taking photos, laughing uproariously— at the outset. But when the topic turns to the GOP, the fun dies.
It was a bit juvenile to trot out an Obama impersonator in the first place. But once you’ve committed to the joke, to call it off the moment it turns on you just compounds the circus-ness of the stunt and makes you look even sillier.
As the ESPN crew stationed outside Wrigley Field recapped the Cubs-Yankees game Sunday night, many in the crowd swirling about could be heard chanting:
“Yankees suck, Yankees suck!”
Going into a break, one of the announcers said something along the lines of, “You can hear what a lot of these Cubs fans think of the Yankees.”
As I noted in Monday’s column, you’re going to hear a lot of “Cubs suck!” and “White Sox suck!” from partisans of the respective teams over the next three days. (That is, unless the rains don’t let up and an ark sails through U.S. Cellular Field.) The such-and-such-sucks chant has been the go-to “insult” for what, 20 years now?
It’s never clear, it’s almost always alcohol-fueled, and it’s not even borderline edgy anymore. There was a time when fans chanting “Yankees suck!” might have been ignored by the announcers while the director in the truck cringed at the “foul language,” but these days nobody would raise an eyebrow if a bad sitcom featured an 11-year-old kid whose catch phrase was, “Aw this is just total suckage.” (I said it was a bad sitcom.)
But Cubs fans throwing that insult at the Yankees? Really? Do we have to even call up the Baseball Almanac?
The Yankees are the most successful franchise in American sports history, with 40 pennants and 27 World Series titles.
The Cubs are not quite second or third in those categories.
This year, the Yankees are 41-29, while the Cubs are 29-42.
Not to mention the Yankees had just beaten the Cubs 10-4.
As I Tweeted, Cubs fans chanting “Yankees suck!” makes about as much sense as Adam Sandler heckling Sean Penn with, “You can’t act!” Then I was reminded I had given positive reviews to Sandler’s work in a few movies, including “50 First Dates,” “Punch-Drunk Love” and “Spanglish.”
Fine. How about, Cubs fans chanting “Yankees suck!” makes about as much sense as Ashton Kutcher heckling Meryl Streep with, “Your acting sucks!”
What those Cubs fans were really saying was, “We’ve had a lot of beer, we’ve had a lot of beer, we’ve had a lot of beer!”